One in three over-50s are choosing to travel solo, with many of them wanting to try a break that satisfies interests not shared by a partner or friends, says Deborah Stone
You don’t have to be single to travel solo – and increasingly over-50s are leaving friends and family at home for holidays to do exactly what they want without compromise.
One in three over-50s has been on a solo holiday or intends to do so within the next two years, according to mature travel specialist Saga.
Its survey of 12,000 over-50s who chose to travel alone found that 85% loved the freedom and 72% enjoyed meeting like-minded people.
Abta also reveals a 150% rise in solo travel by British holidaymakers in the past seven years, while a recent Abta conference noted the over-50s market is lucrative – they hold 76% of the UK’s wealth – and is growing fast.
More women travel alone, says Saga, at 39% compared to 26% of men; and they’re attracted by the destination and cultural experience.
Robert Goodwin, director of product and purchasing at Saga Holidays, says: “In the past, people may have felt self-conscious if they were single or choosing to travel alone. This is thankfully no longer the case. In fact, more people are actively choosing not to bring along friends or a spouse, instead opting for an immersive experience alone without having to worry about anyone else.”
Silver Travel Advisor, the online reviews website aimed at mature travellers, says: “For 55% of people, holidaying alone was a necessity as they didn’t have anyone to travel with. But 35% are choosing to travel by themselves because they enjoy it, or have different interests to their partner or companion, and a further 10% go it alone because work commitments kept their partner or companion at home.”
Travelling solo needn’t mean enjoying experiences alone either. Family and friends can holiday together then pursue their own interests – a travel trend some companies are already cottoning on to. Here are a few ideas to suggest to your clients.
Wellness holidays are growing more than twice as fast as general tourism, according to last November’s Global Awareness Institute report.
Yoga fits neatly into this category, especially when combined with a walking holiday, says Ramblers Walking Holidays’ agency sales manager Paco Gonzalez: “We have found that combining wellbeing with walking is a growing trend, as increasing emphasis is being placed on the health benefits of walking, plus there is the chance for clients to experience some ‘me time’ and replenish diminished energy or to simply reflect on life.
“We ensure each Ramblers Walking Holiday is graded, making it easier for agents to guide clients, especially more mature travellers, to the right holiday for them by seeing the amount of walking and the terrain that will be undertaken each day.”
New for 2019 is Ramblers’ Alpine Activity Adventure in Switzerland, with electric bikes, barefoot alpine walks and daily yoga and Pilates in the evenings.
Book it: Seven-night Alpine Activity Adventure from £1,885pp, two sharing, or £2,080 single room, including flights, transfers, half board, local guest card, hotel’s spa facilities, experienced leader and local transport. Departs June 6, July 11, August 5 and September 12, 2019. ramblersholidays.co.uk